Alternative Medicine vs. Pharmaceuticals
Alternative medicine aims to treat the whole person and not just the symptom. This differs to some degree from certain aspects of traditional western medicine such as pharmaceuticals, that typically seek to treat symptoms without an emphasis on healing and prevention.
Alternative medicine is rooted in the belief that the body can heal itself and when healed is able to maintain its own health. This is a concept known as homeostasis. Homeostasis is a balance of body, mind and spirit that you naturally gravitate to on your own.
The traditional western medical definition of ‘medicine’ is “a method for diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind.” according to most dictionaries.
Somewhat surprisingly the definition of alternative and natural medicine is exactly the same, the only difference being in the methods prescribed to treat the health issue.
Where a traditional western medical doctor would recommend pharmaceutical medications or surgical procedures, an alternative medicine doctor prescribes herbal remedies and various other therapeutic techniques.
So with the differences in their approach and styles, traditional and alternative medicine can and should coexist within the health care profile of any individual. To neglect one for the other could hurt the chances for the greatest potential of wellness.
Types Of Alternative Medicine
In the field of natural medicine you will find treatments for all types of unwanted health conditions. It is a whole being approach that also includes taking factors such as mental and emotional wellness into consideration.
There are more natural options to treat health ailments than most people realize and there are times when traditional medicine is warranted and necessary.
However, the growing movement towards natural medicine in large part is due to it generally having minimal side effects, being less invasive than surgery and having more long term benefits than staying on a pharmaceutical medication for an extended period of time.
Some of the most beneficial alternative medicine techniques are those used effectively for pain management. In light of the ongoing opioid crisis these are welcome alternatives to managing pain without prescription drugs.
The following techniques are prescribed and performed by natural medicine practitioners for a wide variety of unwanted health conditions and are gathering increasing amounts of scientific evidence for their effectiveness:
Herbalism is a growing field with many advancements being made in clinical research.
Herbalism involves using plant-derived extracts that are either ingested or applied to the skin.
Herbs are natural and non-synthetic making them more bio-available to the human body than a pharmaceutical drug.
Many studies have proven herbal medicine can replace traditional medicine for treatment of certain diseases and ailments. (source)
However, you should always consult with a trusted physician before discontinuing use of any prescribed medication.
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Acupuncture is used by millions of patients around the world especially for natural pain management.
Acupuncture has been scientifically proven to help issues related to back and neck pain, arthritis and headaches. (source)
It is also useful as an overall wellness practice for stress reduction and relaxation.
Relatively few complications have ever been cited in conjunction with the use of acupuncture.
However, you should take adequate measures to investigate the credentials of an acupuncturist before making an appointment.
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Modern Acupuncture is a rapidly expanding franchise operation offering a wide variety of traditional and cosmetic acupuncture treatments in the U.S.
3. Mind Body Exercise
Studies have proven that mind body exercise is more effective because it incorporates characteristics not found in regular exercise.
Mind body exercise is also proven to reduce pain better than medications including those such as Advil or Tylenol.
This mode of exercise also creates greater stress reduction and better mental and physiological benefits.
Mind-body exercises such as yoga, pilates, tai chi and qigong, for example include many breathing techniques that encourage mindful movement.
It has been proven that these benefits exceed those received through exercise not including the mindful aspect. (source)
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4. Body Detoxification
Body detoxification is advised by holistic health care practitioners because of modern day toxicity risks.
It is now a well known fact that toxicity is present in drinking water, air pollution and ground soil in many forms.
Body toxicity causes many unwanted side effects and is not easily expunged due to the fact that toxicants reach the molecular and cellular level. (source)
Human organs, especially the liver, do detoxify the body remarkably well on their own.
However, the organs can only work so fast and the build-up created by an overload of toxicants vs. the amount of time it takes the human body to perform its detoxification role can be harmful.
Some of the main areas to consider for internal cleansing of possible toxic overload are the liver, colon, and intestines.
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5. Energy Healing
Energy healing is an up and coming form of therapy that treats the body’s energetic level.
It is a field that includes therapies such as reiki, massage, spiritual healing and biofield tuning.
Aspects of energy healing are taught in a majority of medical schools and it is viewed by many in the field as the future of medicine.
This is primarily because science has proven that all human cells, gene expressions, and DNA operates and communicates through measurable frequencies and vibrations of energy that determines every aspect of our health and well-being. (source)
Being able to manipulate and enhance these frequencies and vibrations is what energy healing is all about.
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The International Association Of Reiki Practitioners offers a free global locator service to help you find a qualified energy healing practitioner near you, wherever you are.
Many scientific studies have been released in recent years touting the benefits of meditation.
Practitioners of meditation have long purported its many benefits and their positive claims are now backed by science. (source)
Meditation can be practiced in a multitude of ways to benefit a wide range of important health factors such as stress and emotional wellness, which are known to be very common precursors to disease.
It is estimated that more than 18 million people practice meditation on a regular basis in the U.S. alone and that number is said to be growing rapidly.
Hemi-Sync offers meditation audio experiences for a wide variety of health issues that also benefit overall mental wellness.
It has been shown through scientific studies that most if not all pharmaceutical medications, irrespective of their effectiveness, leave behind toxic residue in the body that can cause many unwanted side effects. (source)
Non-toxic natural medicine methods have been used successfully to treat a number of different health conditions, especially for pain management, and can have the added benefit of improving overall wellness.
Typically health and wellness issues that are easier to diagnose such as lower back pain or stress may be better treated by alternative medicine techniques.